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There can be only 1: Polaroid licensee withdraws Nikon-like camera

By dpreview staff on Dec 6, 2013 at 19:32 GMT

Sakar International, which makes cameras under the Polaroid brand name, has agreed to stop selling the model at the center of a patent and trade dress dispute with Nikon. A New York court issued an injunction stopping Sakar from making, selling or advertising the Android-powered iM1836, based on an agreement reached by the two companies. Nikon claims the interchangeable lens iM1836 infringed design patents and 'trade dress' (appearance) of its 1 System.

At launch Sakar said the system would have sensors built into each lens; and the claims of a 27-80mm equivalent range from the 10-30mm lens imply a 1"-type sensor, but details are vague, even where it's on sale.

Nikon 1 J1 Polaroid iM1836

Press Statement:

Court issues consent injunction in lawsuit against Sakar over Polaroid iM1836 digital camera

December 6, 2013

On October 11, 2013, Nikon Corporation and Nikon Inc. ("Nikon") sued Sakar International, Inc. ("Sakar") in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for design patent infringement and trade dress infringement arising from Sakar's "Polaroid iM1836" digital camera (Case No. 13-Civ-7228 (S.D.N.Y)).

Shortly thereafter, Nikon moved for a preliminary injunction to stop the sales and advertising of the Polaroid iM1836 digital camera. After appearing before the Court, Sakar and Nikon agreed on the terms of a preliminary injunction. The Court thus issued a Preliminary Injunction Order on December 4, 2013 (Eastern Standard Time).

As part of the injunction, Sakar will no longer manufacture, import, advertise, promote, offer for sale, sell, or ship the Polaroid iM1836 digital camera in its present configuration.

The abovementioned design patent and trade dress rights are related to the "Nikon 1" Advanced Camera with Interchangeable Lenses.

Comments

Total comments: 150
12
dougjgreen1
By dougjgreen1 (4 months ago)

Nikon saved the Micro 4/3 consortium the trouble of suing them.

0 upvotes
madmaxmedia
By madmaxmedia (4 months ago)

So let me try to get this right- This company Sakar has licensed the basically defunct Polaroid brand name, to produce a vaguely Micro 4/3-ish camera 'system', running off an Android OS, and cosmetically resembling a Nikon 1?

Did I get it all in there? Is there any other company I have not credited?

1 upvote
le_alain
By le_alain (4 months ago)

Yes,
White and plasticy :)

0 upvotes
Alien from Mars
By Alien from Mars (4 months ago)

Only there was nothing 'Micro 4/3-ish' about this camera to begin with...

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (4 months ago)

Just paint it black and call it Polaroid BS (Black Series) :P

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (4 months ago)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEWYOt3bxNI

0 upvotes
Bruce McL
By Bruce McL (4 months ago)

From the time it was announced, this camera had no chance of existing. The company behind it is incapable of making anything original. The initial announcement was basically a pile of crap dumped on the photographic world. Nikon sued because they don’t want any of the stink on them. I can understand that.

The lawsuit just means more attention on, and maybe more legitimacy given to, the lowlife company that perpetrated this hoax. They are not victims here. If one more person takes their company seriously because of this publicity, it’s a win for them. Meanwhile, they can continue selling Polaroid brand socks and garbage can liners, and whatever else they can make a quick buck with.

1 upvote
audijam
By audijam (4 months ago)

this camera won't even sell! stupid nikon...

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

it's more stupid to imitate a design that doesn't sell.

4 upvotes
monkeybrain
By monkeybrain (4 months ago)

My vote goes to this story for best DPR headline of the year.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

removed, I was wrong

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

For all of you who think Nikon is right, here's one for you. This goes beyond ridiculous.

I couldn't upload to the galleries for some reason (gave me errors) so had to upload it to my server.

http://192.99.1.212/polaroid-vs-nikon.jpg

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
6 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

Funny thing is those vans have a lot less design elements in common with each other than the Polaroid and Nikon do.

You've also cheated by putting different wheels on the Chevy http://i.imgur.com/XyyKtnu.png

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

So what, they removed the logos/printing on the cameras to make them look the same to exaggerate the similarities They also blacked out the glass/lens front to confuse people Yah no agenda there.

You can do the same with any black/white/red compact camera and they'll look exactly the same.

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

Show me 2 compact cameras that have as much in common as the Nikon and Polaroid do.

0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

>>By Andy Crowe (28 min ago) -- Show me 2 compact cameras that have as much in common as the Nikon and Polaroid do.

Well let me show you some rectangles with a lens attached to it

http://192.99.1.212/its-a-rectangle-with-a-lens.jpg

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

And all of those cameras still manage have more difference in their design accents (bevel shape, 2 tone sides etc.) than the Nikon/Polaroid does.

Basically the Polaroid is such a blatant ripoff that Nikon really had no choice. Give me any technical reason why the Polaroid should have the same white square around the strap lugs, the same silver strips on the lens, the same grip texture and the same flat black area around the lens hood bayonet.

0 upvotes
pgb
By pgb (4 months ago)

There's a lot more different between the two vans than the two cameras other than four wheels. You would have to be brain dead to inadvertently buy the wrong car brand. Not so buying a cheap camera in a busy market.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
20vanda12
By 20vanda12 (4 months ago)

This is what I call same-same, but different.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

@pgb - who buys a Nikon 1 camera in a busy market? Personally I buy cameras on the net. And what would you do when you came home from the busy market and it said Polaroid on the front?

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

@pgb I think it's probably more that Nikon has a certain trade mark look that they spent money developing, so they can't just let someone duplicate the exact look or they loose the design protection.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

@Andy, I assume you are right. And that (IMHO) shows that design patents are just strange (if you are right). You cannot lose a normal patent by not protecting against someone using it.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

@Roland Design patents are more like trademarks, which you can also lose by not asserting your rights (see legal defense of laches)

0 upvotes
robmanueb
By robmanueb (4 months ago)

Patents and copyrights are just a way to abuse your dominant position. Samsung and Apple are the classic example of how this BS slows innovation and punishes the consumer. Car companies are very good examples of industries that have it 'right' they are more interested in producing cars that work cheaply enough for people to buy them and not worry about the shape of the cars that the opposition makes.

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (4 months ago)

robmanueb, it does not take much research to see that the car industry is also rife with lawsuits and licensing over patents and design patents. But why do you drag in copyright? Do you think anyone should be free to publish other people's work?

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (4 months ago)

And the dinosaur wins.

1 upvote
ballwin12
By ballwin12 (4 months ago)

I bet this is a Chinese company, Am I right? They do nothing, just want to steal patterns from others.

1 upvote
Matthew Miller
By Matthew Miller (4 months ago)

Well, maybe. Sakar is a small company headquartered in New Jersey. But they don't really actually design anything themselves; they basically license different brands (like Polaroid or Vivitar or Kodak, or even Hello Kitty) and attach them to Chinese imports.

Since it tends to be very low quality and *COMPLETELY* unsupported (try getting ahold of anyone at Sakar with a technical question, let alone a support request!), I'm pretty sympathetic to Nikon here.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

so a small Chinese maker posted a threat to Nikon that needed reaction, which made the imitator known to the world?

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

It is not Chinese. It is from Edison, New Jersey. I.e. it is American. It has 75 employees and a revenue of $100 Million. Not maybe giant, but not all that small either. It specialises in buying brand names and designing toys and electronic stuff using those brand names. Therefore it bought the brand name Polaroid when this company went belly up.

http://www.insideview.com/directory/sakar-international-inc

http://www.sakar.com/

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

@yabokkie It's more that Nikon spent money on industrial design to create a very specific look, and if they let one person copy that then they'd loose protection of the design.

If Nikon were just suing over the rough shape it would be one thing, but the Sakar is so blatant (same grip texture, same undersized hood bayonet and same silver/black accents on the lens) that Nikon really didn't have a choice.

2 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (4 months ago)

Right, Chinese companies do nothing. The iPhone is made on the dark side of the moon by purple aliens.

0 upvotes
xentar
By xentar (4 months ago)

Everyone should sue everyone until all manufacturing and craft is prohibited due to patent violations.

8 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

There's no craft here tho, the product look has been entirely copied down to the Nikon's grip texture, silver stripes and black area around a reduced size lens hood bayonet

1 upvote
pgb
By pgb (4 months ago)

The lens does prove a blatant attempt to clone another's work
to confuse the buyer.
The lens grip texture is an identical colour and similar pattern, the shutter and lens buttons are are identical and just re-positioned. If they made the lens grip black plastic they would have got away with it.

0 upvotes
xentar
By xentar (4 months ago)

It is a partial design copy but these cameras are still different and I wouldn't call that enough to accuse Sakar of plagiarism in this case (there are differences there, some may have even been deliberately introduced). And if it's not plagiarism, I don't see the point in banning it (the only thing I would probably think prudent to ask of them is changing the font of the gray "10-30" text on the lens which is indeed identical to Nikon's to the point of being confusing ).

I am thinking in terms of common sense here and not the modern law. And in terms of common sense, having to deliberately alter a working design so that it doesn't resemble some other is rather questionable.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (4 months ago)

"I am thinking in terms of common sense here and not the modern law."

Unfortunately, common sense has traditionally had very little influence on human society.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

Nikon just said they cannot withstand slightest blow.

6 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (4 months ago)

Well, I suppose this at least averted lawsuits with Sony about the idea of a lens-shaped camera that talks to, and is operated by, an Android device. ;-)

I see both Adorama and BHPhoto have this on sale for $299 -- which, despite the Polaroid having truly strange specs, is surprisingly more expensive at BH than a similar-looking red or silver Nikon 1 J1 at $219. Even more interesting, BH lists the white J1 as discontinued. Remind me: who won this lawsuit?

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

"Trade dress" indeed. Why not patent white, red, black, and be done with competition. And there are those letters on one... saying n-i-k-o-n, and the other has p-o-l-a-r uh, something... Is this lawsuit aimed to protect the illiterate? How weird can it get...

5 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

Look at this and tell me that the Polaroid's design isn't too similar to the Nikon
http://i.imgur.com/NJYMQKc.jpg

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Now we need a definition for too similar. It actually may boil down to either someone's idea of functionality or to the same author behind both shapings. In that sense, all cars are similar too. But there are also differences and these should count, without overly strong accent on their quantity.
An example would be seen in the army, where everyone is dressed the same, but still not look like clones; for reasons of soldiers iindividual features, abilities etc... and then there are those strips and stars and whatever which differentiate them by their own default.
Another example would also be all those SLRs, also many superzoom bridge cameras, or "pocketable" little boxes where the inscriptions often make the only prominent diff.
But when the lawyers get involved, all men and/or things can be made equal or different, as per wish, money clout, or whatever other reason, imaginable or not. Like in this case, where all the difference seems to have been disregarded in favor of similarities.

4 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

But this is the thing, it's nothing to do with the shape. The Polaroid's lens has the same silver stripes, the same grip texture and the same flat black border around an undersized lens hood bayonet. Those are entirely optional elements, and Sakar *choose* to copy them from the Nikon. Every other camera may be the same rough shape, but they all have their own unique design elements. All the design elements of the iM1836 are directly copied from the Nikon 1.

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (4 months ago)

Still, the size differs, the commands differ, the placement of flash port is different... so why would some stripes be so important, when there are such prominently visible differences, not forgetting product names, manufacturer names etc?
Let's say the colors on the camera were other than what was made? Would it still point to similarities? Many people, me included, used to re-paint their cars when the new coat of paint was due, and one of my Fiats was painted citrus-yellow of the BMW. It still remained Fiat, only funnier! ;)
In other words, would somebody buy Sakar's product thinking it was Nikon? Hardly a "danger" worthy of all the hullaballoo, IMO.
On the other hand, if Nikon's overall design of model 1 was patent-protected to such detail, they'd be within their rights. But we do not know how detailed the patent documents are...
Never mind. It's lawyer food anyway.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
kff
By kff (4 months ago)

Nikon followed Apple ...

2 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (4 months ago)

As images indicate, it is little bit more than about rounded corners.

So no: the case has substance, thus also evidently found a pretty quick resolution.

2 upvotes
kff
By kff (4 months ago)

In this case, the technical innovation - better and cheap Android Camera ... and it is nonsense to do with another new lens mount ... and What is Nikon doing ... They prevent someone to do cameras better and slowing technological development ... but there is Samsung Galaxy NX ... :)

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

This lawsuit is nothing to do with technical innovation, it's a design patent on the specific look. The Polaroid copies the exact silver strips, the exact grip texture and the exact black area around an identically sized lens hood bayonet. All Sakar (the manufacturer) had to do was not use identical design accents and they would have been fine, I mean just look at it http://i.imgur.com/NJYMQKc.jpg

1 upvote
kff
By kff (4 months ago)

I think that Sakar had a few technical innovation, but Nikon stopped its by lawsuit in the style of Apple

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

Wow, I think a lot of people commenting here need to stop and look at the lens. They have the same silver accents, the same grip texture, the same flat black strip around the hood bayonet etc.

If not for the lens I don't think Nikon would have sued (many cameras have similar body colours and shape) but the lens such is a blatant rip-off, and most importantly there's no good technical reason for it to look that way, that I don't see how Nikon really had a choice.

1 upvote
diolus
By diolus (4 months ago)

A lot of armchair lawyers here.

6 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (4 months ago)

did they use the same mount ?
No ?
So WTF Nikon ?

1 upvote
Hubertus Bigend
By Hubertus Bigend (4 months ago)

The case was never about technology, it was only about the design (as in appearance).

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

It's a design patent, so it's more like trademark. Basically the design looks too similar (same design accents, same colours) without any good reason to.

2 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

The whole idea with design patents is fishy. Patents usually is an invention and have some newsworthiness and hight.

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

> The whole idea with design patents is fishy

No it's not, design patents are one of the last sane parts of the patent system. It protects an exact look, something can use the same technology and be the same rough shape, but as long as the design isn't identical a design patent doesn't cover it. That's why there are so few design patent cases compared to overly-broad technology (especially software) patents.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

@Andy - did you not get that backwards? Design patterns are protecting a look and are very inexact. Otherwise Nikon would not have a case here.

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

@Roland Almost all the design elements are copied exactly, down to the grip texture http://i.imgur.com/NJYMQKc.jpg

Also can you point to any case history of an overly broad design patent win?

0 upvotes
King Penguin
By King Penguin (4 months ago)

Perhaps Leica should now take Fuji to court for their cheap leica rip off :)

11 upvotes
olivier_777
By olivier_777 (4 months ago)

As a consequence, nobody can produce soap bars any more, because soap bars look like a Nikon 1.

10 upvotes
D200_4me
By D200_4me (4 months ago)

Fine with me. I hate soap bars. I only use liquid soap these days. Makes cleaning the shower much easier too :-)

0 upvotes
expressivecanvas
By expressivecanvas (4 months ago)

I'm glad someone said exactly what I was thinking... These cameras in question each look like a slippery bar of soap... and yet, they clearly are two different cameras. Nikon can't possibly think that this similar looking camera is why their sales are so low. If they do believe this ridiculous notion, there are more serious issues within Nikon to discuss...

2 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 months ago)

The only reason Sakar did it was the overall design is a cheap one. Far less complex than say the Sony NEX. No wonder Nikon could still make a profit on the "J" when they cut the price by 60%.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

It's not just the shape though, the lens has the same design accents too and it would have been cheaper for Sakar to not have them.

0 upvotes
jwkphoto
By jwkphoto (4 months ago)

This reminds me of Polaroid suing Kodak for infringement over instant film and camera twenty years ago and winning. Then in wasn't long before Polaroid went under. About the same time Honeywell sued Minolta for infringement for their autofocus system. They both went out of business. Honeywell could not make it work well and Minolta did. Minolta paid 121 million for that and ended up selling out to Sony ten years later.

It seems like the end results is they all go out of business. Is Nikon next?

4 upvotes
Albino_BlacMan
By Albino_BlacMan (4 months ago)

Apple sued Samsung... Bye Bye Apple?

Lots of camera companies sued eachother, lots of camera companies went out of business. I'm sure Canon sued someone/ was sued back in the day. They still seem to be profitable

0 upvotes
JayBratcher
By JayBratcher (4 months ago)

BTW - Nikon needs to sue Leica too:
http://www.dpreview.com/products/leica/compacts/leica_c112

And someone who makes lipstick should sue Lytro - I'm positive my Grandma was trying to put Lytro on her lips the other day.

And Sigma - sue the pants off of Sigma until they make a camera that doesn't look like a brick with a lens glued onto the front.

And while we are at it, sue Sony too, for making cameras that look really good on paper but draw yawns in real life. I know they are capable - their video cameras are consistently top notch if you drop some proper coin.

And Canon - who do they think they are? Sue them! Don't care what for, they just have it coming.

Pentax, Panasonic and Olympus - sue them as well. I'm pretty sure their cameras look like something too.

I'll send my referrers fee to whichever lawyer picks these suggestions up.

You're welcome!

14 upvotes
caver3d
By caver3d (4 months ago)

So, maybe Olympus should sue Sony and Nikon for copying the Olympus retro OM-D design/look for their digital cameras. After all, Olympus came up with the first digital camera with the retro "hump".

4 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

Oly is a happy maker with stupid users.

premium customers that all the makers want to have but the sad thing is there are not many of foolish people. a maker cannot rely on those customers to become a top brand but they still try sometimes, like Nikon Df.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Vlad S
By Vlad S (4 months ago)

May be Sony should sue Olympus: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/minoltadimage7/

1 upvote
zzzorki7
By zzzorki7 (4 months ago)

Do NIKON hump real and fake in Olympus.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (4 months ago)

Nikon itself is a fake of Ikon.
only Ikon is junk and Nikon is the real thing now.
anything may happen tomorrow.

1 upvote
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (4 months ago)

Good !
Victory in anti-counterfeiting.
It prevents the fake products spread out to the whole world.
An excellent decision from the court.

2 upvotes
JayBratcher
By JayBratcher (4 months ago)

Did you really think that camera was a Nikon 1 Series? Was it infringing on Nikon's business (rhetorical question, because it possibly was, but no more than any other camera)? At what point are manufacturers no longer allowed to make a camera that looks like a camera?

5 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

This has nothing to do with counterfeiting which is serious (and illegal). The concept here is that the appearance of the Nikon was so unique, it was proprietary. Imagine arguing that people went to buy a genuine Nikon and got a Sakar Polaroid by accident. Whoops! Well, this victory will put a stop to that.

Sadly, real counterfeiting is all over the place. Used to be only things perceived as overpriced, like OEM batteries & chargers (which Canon/Nikon don't make themselves, anyway), but now even even lens caps are faked, right down to the packaging.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

No the issue here is that the design is just too similar. Not just the body shape, the accents on the lens are almost identical.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (4 months ago)

"At what point are manufacturers no longer allowed to make a camera that looks like a camera?"

When they are infringing on someone else's design patent. And those are usually very specific, and not about general shapes like "soap bar" or such.
There are lots of other "soap bar" cameras on the market, but none is similar enough to be infringing on the Nikon 1 patent. Except for the Sakar/Polaroid camera and lens, which is similar enough, according to the court ruling.
You may not like the current patent laws, but given that we have them, we must abide by them. It's up to any designer to make sure that his design isn't too similar to someone else's.

0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

>>>>>By AbrasiveReducer (10 hours ago)
Imagine arguing that people went to buy a genuine Nikon and got a Sakar Polaroid by accident. Whoops! Well, this victory will put a stop to that.

Did you even read what you wrote? How the hell could you go to a store pickup a camera that says Polaroid on it and think you are buying a genuine Nikon?

Ok Ok ilts say someone buys it how stupid would you have to be to not notice Polaroid on the packaging?

3 upvotes
expressivecanvas
By expressivecanvas (4 months ago)

Looks like Nikon is choosing to behave like Kodak in their last days in the camera business with logic like if you can't make money in the camera business, then try to make money in the courtroom. Perhaps we should be asking whether Nikon is headed down the same road.

4 upvotes
ryansholl
By ryansholl (4 months ago)

Big corporation or profitless sole proprietorship: You create something. Someone makes a look alike that may keep naive grandmothers from buying your product for their grandkids. You do what?

It's cool. That money we spent making things look pretty is excellently spent on someone else milking it for all it's worth.

or

Make them stop selling it.

I can't believe this is an issue, I really can't.

2 upvotes
guamy
By guamy (4 months ago)

This one also can be sold to asian countries where patents laws can't be reached.

1 upvote
InTheMist
By InTheMist (4 months ago)

Title of the year!

4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (4 months ago)

Newsletter subscribers were treated to 'Nikon Sues Sakar over Incriminating Polaroid'.

You're welcome.

6 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

I am not all for design lookalike protections. The camera says Polaroid. We do know that Polaroid do not mean Nikon. If they had called it Nikon or Nihon or Nippon or some such, then I think there would have been a case. But personally, even if Nikon may be technically right, I find this move by Nikon unnecessary.

Moreover, the Polaroid thing looks like a cheap toy. And I assume it feels even cheaper when you have it in your hand. The Nikon on the other hand looks serious and feels substantial. The Polaroid thing will not hurt the Nikon sales, IMHO.

7 upvotes
DDWD10
By DDWD10 (4 months ago)

The Polaroid looks like a knock-off of itself!

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

If Nikon didn't take this to court they'd likely lose protection of their design and other people would copy. Remember it's not just the camera shape, the Polaroid has identical design accents on the lens for no good reason.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (4 months ago)

Its a strange world where you can protect "design accents". But we are descendants of ship B, so why not.

0 upvotes
Expat Nomad
By Expat Nomad (4 months ago)

But there ARE differences to the design (e.g., mode dial, AF assist, port locations). Edit: I presume the menus are different too.

If this was the music industry, we'd be talking about the remix/tribute/cover.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (4 months ago)

This case is more like the music industry equivalent of a sample. Maybe an artist will speed the sample up changing the pitch a la Kayne West, but it's still a copy of an original work.

0 upvotes
JayBratcher
By JayBratcher (4 months ago)

But it's not like the music industry, where the art itself is ripped off. This is a camera we are talking about, not a fashion statement. Nobody flaunts their Nikon 1 because it looks cool.

0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (4 months ago)

Yes, there are differences, but without reading the design patent in question, we don't know what the relevant design elements are. It doesn't have to be identical to be infringing on the patent; it's a question of being similar enough, and that's up to the court to decide.

0 upvotes
SRT3lkt
By SRT3lkt (4 months ago)

I was thinking this as the Panasonic-Leica or the Sony-Hasselblad type thing, up until I read this article.

0 upvotes
aandegoons
By aandegoons (4 months ago)

A new low... DPR Anti Nikon trolls rooting for the thief.

Sakar is actually using the molds from the Nikon 1 system.

http://www.sansmirror.com/newsviews/protection-by-lawsuit.html

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

Hogan speculates that Sakar might be using the molds. Note that the image we've used differs more from the J1 than the ones on his site - as do the images of the prototypes we took at CES (lens release button and AF illuminator in difference places, for example).

5 upvotes
aandegoons
By aandegoons (4 months ago)

Ya I think Hogan is right. Sakar just poked a few holes in the mold but overall the two are way too close. Seems the mold issue is very common in China.

Either way rooting for thievery is pretty low.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

I hope you don't believe I'm 'rooting for thievery.'

I'm just pointing out that your statement that 'Sakar is using...' isn't supported by evidence. It's possible but almost irrelevant - the court will decide whether Sakar has infringed the design rights (and it certainly looks like Nikon has a case). It's 'whether' that matters, rather than 'how.'

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

Thom has no way of knowing, and that's not what he said. He speculated is that it the two cameras might have been made from the same mold (obviously not by Nikon, or they should sue themselves).

Then, the real revelation: In China, everybody copies everything. Wow. The lawsuits that appear reasonable pertain to technology, trademarks and counterfeiting. If Sakar wrote Nikon on the camera, that would be a serious attempt to fool people.

1 upvote
aandegoons
By aandegoons (4 months ago)

Not at all R Butler. But many of your forum posters are.

BTW how much pointing out would you be doing if I started a website that looked a lot like this one named Dpreviewed?

1 upvote
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

Well, a web site equivalent of this Sakar thingy would be a web site with a similar layout to this with black background, white text, orange subtitles (instead of blue) and a red square logo (instead of a round blue one) saying something completely different.

Also the web site would be about Chinese gadgets with Android and not cameras.

In other words, artificial similarity with differences obvious at the 2nd sight.

0 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

Also, funny fact: When I first encountered the N1 system (which was at their announcement presentation), I thought the J1 looks remarkably similar to a Leica. No, really. Look at it from above. A mini-Leica.

0 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (4 months ago)

I really don't like these patents and lawsuits. Why just throw money at the lawyers instead of... Well I don't know, how about engineers? Or quality control? Or common sense? (Meaning, don't assemble your cameras from the cheapest Chinese parts, sell them at a massive premium and then act surprised that someone else uses the same parts.)

Anyway, dpreview, maybe you should put a pic of J1 there instead of J3. J3 doesn't look so similar, while J1 is quite identical.

3 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (4 months ago)

Try reloading the page (we already had).

0 upvotes
dan the man p
By dan the man p (4 months ago)

I'm surprised people are upset about this lawsuit. The Polaroid is an obvious rip-off. Even the lens is styled the same way.

14 upvotes
gerard boulanger
By gerard boulanger (4 months ago)

Patent infringement? Yes, they are both white, like many other cameras are black... If you remove the logo on a Nikon and Canon DSLR, I guess the only difference might be the little red thing on the Nikon.
The top of the Sakar and the Nikon are very different as Canon and Nikon DSLR are.
Now if it's about a design registered at USPTO by Nikon, it might be a different story.
I hope it's not just about similar white look.

4 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (4 months ago)

Look at the lense. They have the same silver accents, the same grip texture, the same flat black strip around the hood bayonet.

If not for the lens I don't think Nikon would have won (many cameras have similar body colours and shape) but the lens is such a blatant rip-off, and most importantly there's no technical reason for it to be.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (4 months ago)

So the Chinese government decided they would rather have Nikon making J1's in China than in Thailand and told Sakar to make a less obvious rip off.

0 upvotes
Apollo18
By Apollo18 (4 months ago)

I've not looked at the design patent owned by Nikon, but comparing the two cameras they do look very similar to me. To the extent that the design patent covers the Nikon 1 then, this seems fair enough to me. Sakar seem to agree, given how far they backed down.

5 upvotes
pdelux
By pdelux (4 months ago)

Just because they backed down doesnt mean that they are wrong, just means they dont have as much money as nikon, large corporations can keep small companies in court for years to the point where the little guys go bankrupt. Doesnt matter whos right or wrong anymore.

4 upvotes
Apollo18
By Apollo18 (4 months ago)

Why are you assuming they only backed down because they are a smaller company though? It's also possible that that had nothing to do with it, isn't it? To me this looks like a pretty clear case of copying.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

It's only a matter of time before Canon cracks down on those drinking cups that look like L lenses.

8 upvotes
FencerPTS
By FencerPTS (4 months ago)

Note to lens makers: when applying for design patents for lenses also file a design patent for cups.

3 upvotes
Apollo18
By Apollo18 (4 months ago)

I have one of those!

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (4 months ago)

This sentence is a justified punishment for Sucker... or rather, Sakar for stupidly trying to imitate what is already a very poor, ugly, horrible and forgetful design devoid of beauty. They should have at least tried a more poorer, uglier, more horrible and oblivious design like Leica Lunatic or Leica Lambroast or something...

.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (4 months ago)

Never thought a random dot could be so interesting, kind of like a pin prick letting out hot air.

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (4 months ago)

Nikon may sometimes be slow developing new lenses or filling backorders but when it comes to suing they are up there with Apple & Samsung. I do see the similarity in these inspired designs but I don't see how consumers might confuse one with the other.

1 upvote
FencerPTS
By FencerPTS (4 months ago)

Gosh it sure is funny how much the Nikon 1 looks like the Olympus PEN E-PM1 and PEN E-PL3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1. Just saying...

So can anyone shed light on to what specific aspects of the design patent Sakar is violating but that Olympus and Panasonic are not?

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
FencerPTS
By FencerPTS (4 months ago)

In case anyone is interested, the relevant patent is D682906. The design patents cited in this patent refer extensively to Leica, Samsung, and other Nikon cameras.
So where did Sakar go wrong? One guess: the top of the body has a beveled edge to the back. Beyond that, there are very few unique features.

0 upvotes
Englishman in France
By Englishman in France (4 months ago)

Did Nikon patent shiney white plastic ? I bet apple are just kicking themselves.

1 upvote
Apollo18
By Apollo18 (4 months ago)

No, you can't.

0 upvotes
VikingPhotographer
By VikingPhotographer (4 months ago)

Nikon has turned into a pussycat, now they fear even newcomers as competition, grow up Nikon, be a "man" !
Oh, by the way - a white camera sucks Nikon ! Even your sensor-size sucks !

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (4 months ago)

So you can patent a rectangular device for taking images now? It seems like there is more money in being a Patent Hog than being an inventor now.

Bottom line: Our Patent system needs serious reform.

11 upvotes
Kevin Purcell
By Kevin Purcell (4 months ago)

It's a design patent they're enforcing not a utility patent. If you don't know the difference then you perhaps shouldn't be trolling on this.

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/patdesc.htm

The US patent system needs reform but this is not why reform is needed.

12 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

Seriously in the next 20 years no one will be able to make anything if these Design Patent crap keeps being won.

How come you don't see car manufactures suing each other for look alike cars. Look at the photos below at least on the cameras the brand names stand right out.

http://photos.ecarlist.com/GT/HB/mb/1w/Lg/ac/ka/9w/ul/jQ/dQ_800.png

http://photos.fzautomotive.com/color_0640_032_png/8661/8661_cc0640_032_E4.png?404=default

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (4 months ago)

Did you actually try to find out whether car manufacturers sue each other over designs? A quick google threw up these:

http://blog.caranddriver.com/panoz-sues-nissan-over-unique-deltawing-design/
http://www.autoevolution.com/news/shelby-loses-lawsuit-over-car-design-17118.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/15/technology/15tesla.html?_r=0
...

EVERY trade which uses patents and design patents is rife with lawsuits and licensing. Just because you do not follow a given trade does not mean they don't exist.

0 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (4 months ago)

but what was nice about the original design that you would want to copy ??

Are you just too lazy ?

or the subcontractor offered the mould to save cost....

4 upvotes
Naveed Akhtar
By Naveed Akhtar (4 months ago)

precisely .. i mean why dont you make another format slightly smaller or bigger on a similar concept ... the idea is to get a smaller sensor than APSC or 4/3 to get higher processing speeds and lighter lenses .. isn't it?

and why nikon followed them .. i mean it will only help them selling their 1 system with poloroid making more lenses .. why not act like oly and pany!! why behaving like nikon and canon!!
one mount more options ..

2 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (4 months ago)

I wonder which camera would sell more.

1 upvote
LiSkynden
By LiSkynden (4 months ago)

Kind of sad from Nikon. Did they have more money and "won" the law suit or what?

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
1 upvote
sandy b
By sandy b (4 months ago)

No. They had the design first. The silly thing was straight copy. Even DPR a year ago said it was lawyer-esque.

10 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (4 months ago)

Why because its white?

3 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (4 months ago)

Need a different shell, nothing overwhelmingly about the Nikon 1 design. I still like the sensor mated to lens idea-it works well for some of the best cameras in existence, including the Sigma DP series.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 150
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